This one’s worth skipping.

More like yo-ho-NO, amirite?

Pirates of the Caribbean 5 (yes, the fourth one exists) promises a return to the roots of this beloved franchise of scurvy dogs and misplaced rum. Critics are even saying it will remind us why we love “these movies”. I can only think of one Pirates film that I like particularly much, the first one, but if you can’t get enough of Johnny Depp mugging and doing a funny voice, then fine. Just try to ignore the fact that your favorite clumsy charmer Captain Jack Sparrow is apparently in an in-canon sex trafficker now.

Johnny Depp is back, doing his thing.

It is true that Dead Men Tell No Tales (known as Salazar’s Revenge in countries that deem death too spooky) was made as a call-back to the one that started it all but I don’t know how much consolation that is. One would think that it had been better to let Gore Verbinski come back and do his thing as opposed to having Disney executives try to replicate his vision to make money. Then again, Verbinski’s latest contributions include The Lone Ranger and that Shutter Island rip-off so I can merely speculate.

We discover that, after the events of At World’s End, former blacksmith and current barnacles-ridden first rank of The Flying Dutchman, Will Turner (40-year-old Orlando Bloom) fathered a child in the form of Henry (27-year-old Brenton Thwaites; you do the math), who now works for the British Royal Navy. One day, said navy is lured by pirates into what I assume is meant to be the Bermuda Triangle, where they find the shipwreck of Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem), who promptly materializes alongside his undead followers. Killing everyone on the navy vessel, Salazar lets only Henry live so that he can return home to announce to Jack Sparrow that death awaits him. It is always good to let your enemies know that you’re after them.

Returning home, Henry is sentenced to prison under allegations of mutiny, but is freed by another accused felon, an astronomer named Carina (Kaya Scodelario), sentenced for her blasphemous exploration of science. Eventually they unite with Jack and his men, and Carina reveals that she knows the way to the Trident of Poseidon, an artifact that can release Will Turner from the curse of The Flying Dutchman and also maybe, just maybe, restore his relationship with Henry. That’s about as much sense as I can make of what I saw in the order I saw it.

Meanwhile, Salazar escapes his enchanted prison and encounters Captain Barbossa (played again by a great Geoffrey Rush), whom he forces to help him find Jack Sparrow, so that he may exact his revenge properly. There are more characters; Kevin McNally once again plays First Mate Gibbs, Golshifteh Farahani portrays a sea witch, and David Wenham provides a secondary villain in the form of Henry’s superior at the Royal Navy. Keira Knightley reappears briefly and, get this, Paul McCartney cameos as Jack’s paternal uncle. They have the courtesy not to bloat it further with magical crabs and Davy Jones nonsense but a post-credit sequence tells me we haven’t seen the last of Squidbeard.

Of course I understand that reviewing a film like this is futile. It’s been a while since people saw Jack Sparrow on the big screen and since he was the first man-crush a lot of people (my age) had, it makes sense that my Snapchat feed of post-ironic Chicken Run memes is frequently interrupted by nigh tearful messages like “On Sunday, I will see you again” written over an image of the movie ticket. Evidently, there is still treasure to be found, so it hardly matters if the rest of us are tired of the in-your-face 3D or cacophonic action that occurs along the way.

Another emotional aspect for many is the notion that this is the last film; a final return to the waters they’ve become so attached to. I mentioned money earlier. I don’t think the post-credit scene is the only clue that this is far from being the end.

Dead Men Tell No Tales isn’t without its interesting features. Some of the new designs are deliciously nightmarish, the music is as fun as it’s always been, the de-aged Johnny Depp we see in one scene was less jarring than he could have been, and most of the shots that would otherwise have been done by crane or helicopter were apparently done by drone. I for one never noticed and wasn’t distracted, so good on you. Now knock it off.

Down below is my rating and trailer. Stay tuned the next couple days. I’m on my summer break and am not doing much apart from a few videography jobs, so you might see me talk about a certain woman of wonder very soon. And yes, I’m allowed to go in the theater.

2.5/5 whatever

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